Remote Sensing Beta Test – Engineering Activity 1: Redirecting Light

Remote Sensing - Engineering A1 Front

Activity Timing

5 min. Introduction
15 min. Investigate Light
30 min. Create a Light Redirection System
10 min. Reflect

60 min. Total

Prep Snapshot

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Set up sample obstacle course and Materials Table.
  • Create a sample light redirection system. 
  • NOTICE: There is significant preparation needed for Activities 4-6. This is a good time to check and plan accordingly.

This snapshot intended for quick reminders and is not a replacement of the guide. Be sure to use the guide for detailed preparation instructions and implementation scripts.

A1 Educator Guide

A1 Engineering Notebook


HiRISE: High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, a camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter 

LiDAR: Light detection and ranging, a technique using lasers to measure distance 

Redirect: to change the direction of 

System: a group of parts that work together 

Remote Sensing Engineering Vocab List

21st Century Skills Connection

Collaboration, Critical Thinking

Habits of Mind

  • Use systems thinking 
  • Investigates properties and uses of materials 

Activity Overview

Youth investigate how mirrors can be placed to redirect the path of light to gather data from a distance. 

Guiding Question

What is the best way to redirect light to gather data from a distance? 

Youth Will Do

  • Explore and evaluate the properties of light.  
  • Determine how to place mirrors to redirect the path of light based on the properties of light.  
  • Evaluate their system to suggest improvements.  
  • Develop ideas for changing the design for better ability to redirect light.  
  • Explain the strengths and weaknesses of their systems based on what they now know about light. 

Youth Will Know

  • Engineers design technologies that capture data.  
  • Mirrors can change the direction of light. 

Videos Related to this Activity

Family Connections Story Prompt

Can you tell me a story about something you built to solve a problem?

Additional Resources

Connecting Across Activities

  • In the Engineering Context-Setting Activity, youth explored the relationship between scientists and engineers and learned their challenge: to design technologies to remotely gather data for a NASA Mars mission.
  • In this Activity, they explore the properties of mirrors and light to design light redirection systems.
  • In Engineering Activity 2, they will explore different materials and other ways to get remote sensing data.